Thai worth taking a spin for

a montage of deliciousness

Some places are just worth a bit of travel.  I'll be the first to tell you that my favorite sushi place (besides Uchi/Uchiko, which I don't even categorize as simply "sushi") is in a little strip mall on Parmer Lane.  Well, I recently discovered somewhere else worth a trek out of downtown: SPIN Modern Thai!

Ek and Thai hard at work-- with some serious knives within reach

To give you some background, Ek first gained experience cooking at his sister's Thai restaurant before he went on to become a sushi chef at Uchi, then helped open up the first Eastside Kings.  Thai moved from Bangkok to L.A., where he worked in Thai restaurants through Hollywood and Thai Town.  He also worked at Uchi, and then Uchiko, before joining Ek to open up SPIN, where they truly put a creative "spin" on Thai cuisine.

crispy fried Brussels sprouts

Much like Uchi and Uchiko, they offer a "social hour" (which is really an hour and a half) between 5 and 6:30pm Monday through Thursday, when snacks like these crispy fried Brussels sprouts become only $2.00!

sweet corn taro tempura

...and this decadent (yet perfectly sized) sweet corn taro tempura is only $4.00!

sauteed housemade curry sausage

And this housemade curry sauce is also only $4!  (Despite the cilantro, rhizome, and tamarind sauce used, I detect currywurst inspiration!)

peek gai yaang

And these Thai, street-style chicken wings with chili dipping sauce were also discounted to just $3.00 at happy hour.  Correct me if I'm wrong, but I think this is just about the only Thai chicken wing in town-!  And they sure do go down quite easily...

larb sake

But not even as easily as this larb sake: salmon sashimi, toasted rice, grapes, cherry tomatoes, nam pal vinaigrette.  (Only $5.00 at happy hour!)  Yes, this is certainly the work of two chefs who were trained at Uchi!  What a perfect balance of acids and sweetness, texture and color...!

Timmy duck: more than just a pretty plate

Then, since happy hour doesn't last forever (*sigh*), we moved on... to Timmy duck!  Several of the menu items just jumped off the page at me, and this was one of them: shredded duck confit in brown butter, with a Vital Farms egg, creme fraiche, arugula, fried sticky bun, Brussels sprouts, and pickled shallots, with a pickled ginger sake gel and five spice soy sauce.  I'm going to be honest-- it would be hard to not order this again next time I come back.  At once fresh, rich, tangy, sweet, and savory... these guys really are the masters of flavor balance!

Clay Pot shrimp

We had one more entree left in us.  Next came clay pot shrimp, with head-on shrimp, glass noodles, Shiitake mushrooms, green onion, Asian celery, cracked black pepper, smoked bacon, cilantro and green onion.  Your server will come crack an egg on top and mix it all up to perfection.  I'm sure the intense flavor of the broth had much to do with the head-on shrimp, and the bacon added just a bit of subtle smokiness to it (I don't actually recall seeing chunks of bacon).  I also loved the slippery texture of glass noodles with little vegetable gifts tucked into each bite.  

I love interactive cuisine

Thai with a loup de mer

coconut panna cotta perfection

Though the dessert is not listed on the regular menu: leave room for it, for God's sake!  This dessert, in particular.  Coconut panna cotta, ginger gel, candied pecans, preserved lemon, mint, caramel tuile.  I  daydreamed about it for several days and salivate as I type this.  I am a cocoNUT though, so this doesn't surprise me.  What does surprise me is that they don't have a pastry chef in house... so I wonder who is responsible for this dreamy creation??  Subtly sweet, creamy coconut panna cotta paired with refreshing citrus and ginger made for the perfect ending to this destination feast.